According to the Oxford dictionary, “a nation is a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory.” As such, Nigeria is a country of many nations as we have different ethnic groups of varying cultures and languages. However, we are familiar with three major ethnic groups, which are Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa but everyone knows that Nigeria’s ethnic groups are more than the so-called three. In addition to these major groups are the mid-west and middle-belt groups of the country. These other groups are called minority groups, but should they be referred to as minorities? They have a unique language and their own territories like any other prominent ethnic group.
Before slave trade in Africa in 1861, the Benin Empire (the now Benin/mid-west), the Onitsha Kingdom, the Oyo Empire (the Yoruba states), Jos and Plateau (middle belt), and Sokoto and the Fulani Empire (Northern states) were ruled separately by kings, chiefs and societal groups. After the 1884 Berlin Conference, the Europeans partitioned Africa amongst themselves, and by 1900 the British took over Nigeria (as Nigeria was a territory of the Royal Niger Company), and they ruled the Northern (Jos and Plateau, and Sokoto and the Fulani Empire) and Southern (the Benin empire, the Onitsha Kingdom, the Oyo Empire) Protectorates separately through the indirect rule system (ruling colonies through their traditional rulers). By 1914, after the amalgamation of Nigeria for administrative purpose, we had the creation of the country Nigeria and this change also came with a constitutional development that started with Clifford’s constitution of 1922.
The problem with Nigeria’s grouping started with the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorate in 1914 by Sir Frederick Lord Lugard. Can a person unite people of different cultures and languages, who are obviously differentiated by their cultures, and languages? According to Adisa Adeleye a Vanguard columnist, he noted that the effects of this unholy union are the Boko Haram insurgency, Biafra secession group and the Niger-Delta kidnappings.
Also, going by an excerpt from Chief Richard Akinjide’s book – Path to Nigeria’s Future, culled from The News, it noted that, “The North is poor and they have no resources to run the protectorate of the North. That they have no access to the sea; that the South has resources and that they have educated people . . . Therefore, because it was not the policy of the British Government to bring the tax-payers money to run the protectorate, it was in the interest of the British taxpayer that there should be an amalgamation.” The amalgamation was not for the administration of the north and south but was for the north alone. And the service fund of the amalgamation was Nigeria’s tax-payers dues – taxes of the educated elites from the south.
Since the 1962/1963 census, we have had the Northerners control all Nigeria’s federal parastatals, which unfortunately does not resolve into any dividend for the development of northern states. But a progressive construction of an oligarchy state. A society of uneducated, subservient and ignorant young ones.
Do we continue in this wrong trap that has been made to ruin Nigeria? Benue killings have not stopped, Boko Haram crises have not seceded, likewise, Nnamdi Kanu has not dropped the baton although he has gone into hiding and he is absolutely coming back. For the Yorubas, we do not know what the angle is but there is an incessant call for regionalisation, a call for the Western region.
President Mohammadu Buhari has said no to restructuring but for what reason? According to Business Post, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, last year during the KADINVEST 2.0 in 2017 said, “Break Nigeria into its components parts and this part of the country, if it were a country will be one of the poorest nations in the world.” This is an indicator that the North would be on the receiving end if Nigeria breaks up. Is this the reason why Mr. President has said no to our demands for a new Nigeria of our own creation?
Should we continue in a fraudulent amalgamation that makes a part the food for the other to live on? If we are sincere about a true Nigeria, it is high time we ask and fight for regionalisation. Every region has to be responsible for itself. If a sect wants to continue making their girls wives and their boys’ seducers, almajiris and traders, they can continue and let us stop the pity party. It is obvious that the true Nigeria that we want cannot be achieved if we continue praying for unity which is not our creation, but a fraud – 1914 Frederick Lord Lugard Amalgamation. We might never see the dividends of our prayers as a country except we go the other way round – dissolution and regionalisation – that opens everyone and every region to its woes.
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